The Washington State Department of Health has issued guidance for schools to begin phasing in small numbers of students, starting with elementary grades and students with special needs. The guidance states that it is safe to proceed at current infection rates as long as safety protocol are in place.
Nearly 20 other districts in the Puget Sound region are also beginning in-person instruction. Other districts in our state and in other areas of the country with similar or higher community spread have been teaching students using a hybrid model since last fall.
Based on public health guidance, we intend to begin phasing students into in-person learning, starting March 1. If public health guidance changes, our plan will change.
All schools across the district will phase in on the same schedule (not on a school-by-school basis.) For example, all Highline kindergarten students will start hybrid instruction the same week.
Teachers will have either a hybrid class (in-person + distance learning) or a fully remote class. We will prioritize keeping students with their current teacher, but some class reassignments will be unavoidable.
- Prioritizes our youngest learners and our students who need the most support for learning.
- Is aligned to health and safety guidelines (e.g. face masks, social distancing, PPE).
- Proceeds in phases per public health guidance.
Families may opt to have their students continue in distance learning.
Elementary and IAC Return to School Buildings
Students in our ILC and CBS returned during phase 1.
Phase 2 students starting March 1 will be:
- Grade 1
- Students in our Intensive Academic Center (IAC) in grades K-5
Students in our IAC program in grades 6-12 will start on March 8.
We will phase in other elementary grades in the weeks after March 1.
- Phase 3 (grades 2 and 3) will begin at least two weeks after March 1.
- Phase 4 (grades 4 and 5) will begin at least two weeks after the start of Phase 2.
Elementary grades will return first based on public health guidance. Data indicates that young children have a lower risk of transmitting COVID-19.
Middle and High School Return to School Buildings
We are continuing to plan for in-person instruction for middle and high school students and will begin as public health authorities recommend it.
data guiding our decision to return
Our primary guidance is the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) Decision Tree for schools. (This information presented below in an ADA-accessible format.) Key data points are:
- Number of of positive cases/100,000 residents/14 days
- Test positivity rate
- Trend in cases or hospitalization rates
Highline’s current status on two of these key data points is found here and updated at least weekly. Note that while we are tracking COVID rates in all neighborhoods within Highline’s boundaries, we will make decisions based on the highest rates in Highline. We will open schools when the neighborhood with the highest COVID rate is within the guidelines set by DOH. We will not open some schools and keep others closed.
- What is the schedule for in-person instruction?
- Will students from the same family have the same scheduled times in school?
- Will transportation be provided?
- When will middle and high school students return?
- When will families know who their teacher will be?
- Will students keep the teacher they have now?
- Why are hybrid students only in person for 2.25 hours a day?
- How will school meals be provided?
- How many students will be in a classroom during in-person instruction?
- Once we choose hybrid or remote, are we locked into that or can we change models later?
- Will transportation be provided between childcare sites and school?
- Will before and after school childcare be available?
- Will learning schedules change for fully remote students when hybrid starts?